Orlando Cerebral Palsy Lawyer
Legal Representation for Florida Birth Injuries
Are you seeking legal guidance and representation for a cerebral palsy case? The Law Offices of Michael Barszcz, M.D., J.D. in Orlando is here to help. With our unique blend of medical and legal expertise, we are dedicated to advocating for the rights of children and families affected by cerebral palsy. Our team understands the complex nature of these cases and is committed to providing compassionate support and expert legal representation.
What is Cerebral Palsy?
Cerebral palsy is a neurological disorder that affects muscle coordination and body movement. It is caused by damage to the brain before, during, or shortly after birth. The condition can have a profound impact on an individual's quality of life, requiring ongoing medical care, therapy, and support. In many cases, cerebral palsy is caused by medical negligence or malpractice during pregnancy, labor, or delivery.
What Causes Cerebral Palsy?
Cerebral palsy can occur as a birth injury due to medical malpractice during the prenatal period, labor, or delivery. Several factors and complications can contribute to the development of cerebral palsy in these cases.
Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE): HIE refers to a lack of oxygen and blood flow to the baby's brain during childbirth. If medical professionals fail to promptly address issues such as umbilical cord complications, placental abruption, or maternal infections, it can lead to HIE and subsequent cerebral palsy.
Prolonged Labor or Failure to Progress: Prolonged labor can increase the risk of oxygen deprivation and brain damage in the baby. Medical negligence may occur if healthcare providers fail to monitor the progress of labor, improperly use labor-inducing drugs, or delay necessary interventions such as a cesarean section.
Forceps or Vacuum Extractor Injuries: Assisted delivery techniques like forceps or vacuum extractors are sometimes necessary to assist with difficult deliveries. However, if these instruments are misused or applied with excessive force, they can cause head trauma, brain bleeding, or other injuries leading to cerebral palsy.
Untreated Infections: Infections in the mother during pregnancy, such as bacterial infections, viral infections (like herpes), or maternal urinary tract infections, can pose a risk to the baby's developing brain. Failure to diagnose and treat these infections promptly can lead to cerebral palsy.
Medication Errors: Errors in administering medications to the mother or baby during pregnancy or childbirth can have detrimental effects on the baby's brain development. Examples include incorrect dosages, inappropriate use of labor-inducing drugs, or failure to consider potential contraindications.
Fetal Distress: Monitoring the baby's heart rate and overall well-being is crucial during labor. Failure to detect and respond to signs of fetal distress, such as an abnormal heart rate or lack of oxygen supply, can result in brain damage, fetal strokes, and, subsequently, cerebral palsy.
Inadequate Neonatal Care: Inadequate medical care immediately after birth, such as failure to resuscitate a baby or delay in providing necessary medical interventions, can contribute to the development of cerebral palsy.
Types of Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy (CP) is a broad term that encompasses a group of neurological disorders affecting movement, muscle control, and coordination. The types of cerebral palsy can be classified based on the specific movement problems and the parts of the body affected.
The three primary types of cerebral palsy are:
Spastic Cerebral Palsy: This is the most common type of cerebral palsy, accounting for approximately 70-80% of cases. Spastic CP is characterized by muscle stiffness and tightness, leading to difficulties with movement and coordination. The affected muscles may be tight and rigid, making it challenging to control and coordinate voluntary movements. Spastic CP can further be classified based on the distribution of muscle involvement, including:
- Spastic Diplegia: Both legs are primarily affected, while the arms may be less affected or not affected at all.
- Spastic Hemiplegia: Only one side of the body (one arm and one leg) is affected.
- Spastic Quadriplegia: All four limbs and the trunk are affected, often with significant involvement of the muscles controlling the face and mouth. People with spastic quadriplegia may also experience difficulties with speech, swallowing, and overall mobility.
Dyskinetic Cerebral Palsy (Athetoid, Choreoathetoid, or Dystonic): Dyskinetic CP accounts for approximately 10-20% of cases. It is characterized by uncontrolled and involuntary movements, which can be slow and writhing (athetoid), jerky (choreoathetoid), or sustained and twisted (dystonic). These movements can affect the face, limbs, and trunk, making it challenging to control posture and perform coordinated movements. People with dyskinetic CP may also experience difficulties with speech and swallowing.
Ataxic Cerebral Palsy: Ataxic CP is less common, accounting for approximately 5-10% of cases. It is characterized by difficulties with balance, coordination, and depth perception. People with ataxic CP may exhibit unsteady movements, tremors, and difficulties with fine motor skills, such as writing or buttoning clothes. They may also have difficulties with tasks requiring precise control, such as reaching for objects.
Process for Filing a Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit
If you believe that your child's cerebral palsy is the result of a birth injury caused by medical malpractice in Florida, you may be eligible to file a claim to seek compensation for damages.
Some important steps to consider when filing a claim for a cerebral palsy birth injury in Florida include:
Consult with an Attorney: It's crucial to consult with an experienced medical malpractice attorney who specializes in birth injury cases, particularly those involving cerebral palsy. They can evaluate the details of your case, review medical records, and determine the viability of a claim.
Gather Evidence: Collect all relevant medical records, including prenatal care records, labor and delivery records, and postnatal care records. These records will help establish the timeline of events, identify potential instances of medical negligence, and support your claim.
Statute of Limitations: Be aware of the statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims in Florida. Generally, you have two years from the date of the injury or the date you discovered or should have discovered the injury to file a lawsuit. However, there may be exceptions and specific rules depending on the circumstances, so it's important to consult with your attorney to ensure you meet the applicable deadlines.
Expert Evaluation: Your attorney may consult with medical experts to review the case and provide an opinion on whether the negligence of a doctor, hospital, or other healthcare professional contributed to your child's cerebral palsy. Expert testimony can play a crucial role in establishing causation and proving your claim.
Pre-Suit Process: In Florida, medical malpractice claims typically go through a pre-suit investigation process before a lawsuit is filed. This involves notifying the potential defendants of your intent to file a claim and providing them an opportunity to evaluate the case. During this stage, both parties may engage in negotiations to reach a settlement without litigation.
Filing a Lawsuit: If a settlement cannot be reached during the pre-suit process, your attorney will file a lawsuit on your behalf. The lawsuit initiates the formal legal proceedings, and the defendant(s) will be served with the lawsuit and have the opportunity to respond.
Discovery and Litigation: The discovery phase involves exchanging relevant information, documents, and evidence between both parties. Depositions, witness testimonies, and further investigation may take place during this phase. Your attorney will represent your interests, engage in settlement discussions, and, if necessary, advocate for you in court.
Settlement or Trial: Throughout the litigation process, settlement negotiations may continue. If a fair settlement is reached, the case can be resolved without going to trial. However, if a settlement cannot be reached, your attorney will prepare your case for trial, present evidence, and argue on your behalf before a judge and/or jury.
Compassionate and Experienced Orlando Cerebral Palsy Attorneys
If you have suffered injuries due to the negligence of a medical professional, it is essential to know that you have legal rights. Our team of Orlando cerebral palsy attorneys is here to support you. We understand the physical, emotional, and financial challenges you may be facing, and we are dedicated to helping you navigate the legal process and fight for the compensation you deserve.
Call us at (407) 305-6088 today and learn how we can help you!
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